Jacksonville union workers protest two bills making their way through Florida Legislature

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Unionized workers in Jacksonville are fighting two bills running through Tallahassee.

A group of them held the rally outside the office of a Jacksonville state representative on Thursday.

they said Senate Bill 256 And House Bill 1445if passed, would reduce union power and change the way unions operate throughout Florida.

Union workers stood outside the office of state Rep. Jessica Baker, asking her to vote no on Bill 1445.

They left a letter in his office, claiming that special interest groups in the state are trying to undermine the freedoms and values ​​of working Floridians.

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“This legislation which, if passed, would negatively impact the frontline voices of our teachers, utility workers, electricians, municipal workers, first responders and medical workers,” said Michael Sampson of the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Internal Bill 1445:

  • Require union members to sign a membership authorization form that recognizes Florida as a right-to-work state

  • This would require union dues to be paid directly to the union, instead of dues being deducted from an employee’s paycheck

  • The bill would also require unions to maintain a 60% membership rate. Otherwise, the union risks decertification

  • Bill exempts unions representing law enforcement and firefighters from any changes

“They have our unions on one side, and the police and fire unions on the other are protected, and that divides us, and we are all working together,” said Balel Xzavian, vice-president of AFSCME .

“If it’s good for Florida and good for the unions in Florida then it should be good for their unions too, if it’s not good for them it’s not good for us then it’s not is not good for the state of Florida,” said David Bryant. , President BWI Local 177 Jacksonville.

The bill’s sponsors said the police and fire unions have lower turnout rates than most teachers’ unions and said requiring 60% union participation would force unions to better represent their workers. Those who oppose the legislation have said that if passed, the bill would ultimately take away their power and voice.

“This bill is just another tactic to silence unions, this bill is a tactic to blow up unions,” said Maceo George of the National Letter Carriers Association.

News4JAX has contacted Baker to see if the rally outside his office will influence his vote on Bill 1445. We have not heard back. The bill is considered by the State Affairs Committee.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.


Jacksonville union workers protest two bills making their way through Florida Legislature

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